Christmas presents stress me out. I freak out about how much they cost (Why are we spending so much when we need to put in a new drain in front of the garage?); I get fed up by the tit-for-tat expectations (So-and-So is spending this much on me so I have to spend that same amount on So-and-So.); and I get a bit self-righteous about the materialism (I'm not even religious, but this is not what Christmas is all about!).
So, for those people in my life whom I want to give a thoughtful present to—but don't have the pressure of a present swap—I like to give homemade gifts of food. Whether it's for a friend, a neighbor, or my son's preschool teacher, I think it's a lovely way to say, "I appreciate you."
Now, there are a million amazing food gifts you can give. I've got nothing against cookies, truffles, or brownies, but I'm already up to my eyeballs in all these sugary goodies. So, I made this simple, sophisticated, savory snack. Tastes delish and looks lovely in a glass jar...what more could you ask for? Oh, how about affordable? Because it's that, too. It can be enjoyed with crackers or crusty bread, on a salad, or atop hot pasta. Yum!
This is really a technique more than a recipe. Amounts will vary based on what size jar you're using and what dried herbs you've got on hand.
What you'll need:
- plain Goat or Feta cheese
- dried herbs, whole and/or chopped
- good-quality extra virgin olive oil
For the goat cheese, I got a large log and cut it into about one-ounce portions. I formed balls with my hands. I added a bit of the oil and some herbs to the bottom of the jar; I used a jam jar, after cleaning it and removing the label. I put in some dried, crushed bush basil, freshly-ground lemon pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Then I placed the cheese balls in the jar, topped with more of the basil and peppers, tucked in some dried rosemary sprigs, and poured EVOO over the whole shebang. Let it marinate for at least four hours before serving; it should keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Gorgeous!
|Neat little labels cut out of Trader Joe's holiday shopping bag. Reduce, reuse, and recycle, y'all!|
I did basically the same thing for the feta, but I diced it.
Stress-free and lovely, right?
Interested in a vegan version? Check out this Marinated Garlic from Life Currents (we've been lucky enough to have her guest post here on our blog!).
P.S. Yes, the Full Belly Sisters celebrate both Chanukkah and Christmas. The best of both worlds!